Friday, May 1, 2009

Solar Baked Potatoes

I've got to tell you, if you're thinking about solar cooking with your children, or just on your own, be warned - it is addictive. I was setting out breakfast this morning when I realized the sunlight was streaming in through the windows. Since it's been dark and cloudy for more than a week, my first thought was, 'What can I put in the solar oven?'. Okay, maybe my first thought was actually, 'Wow, this house has really gotten dusty,' but my second thought was definitely about the solar oven.

I wasn't sure how long the sun would be out, so I rummaged through the cupboards for the proper pans, turkey bags, and cooling rack. I left quite a mess in my wake, but hey, it's almost time for Spring cleaning anyway. I didn't want to waste any time mixing together ingredients, so I decided to give baked potatoes a try. It really doesn't get much simpler.
  • Wash the potatoes, and place them in a black pan.

  • Cover the pan.

  • Wrap the covered pan in a turkey baking bag.
  • Set the pan and wrack into the solar oven. We are using a windshield shade cooker. Look back a few posts if you want to know about that.

I left the potatoes cooking for the entire day. This was not because I thought they needed that long to cook, but mainly because, we wanted them for supper and not lunch. By afternoon the clouds had rolled back in, but the solar oven retained enough heat to keep our baked potatoes butter melting warm. We're definitely hooked - I can't wait for the next sunny day.

Solar cooking is a great family activity. While the pan and ingredients do get burning hot, the oven itself is not too hot to deal with. It has a much safer feel than having the kids use the electric oven - no hot door to lean over, or hot sides to accidentally touch. And anyway how often does a science lesson produce dinner, or making dinner produce a science lesson?

It's great to be a homeschooler!

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